From what Marion could tell, Renee’s hypocrisy never seemed to know any bounds. One second telling somebody not to food shame her for eating an entire bag of chips and the next accusing someone else that they ate too much dessert in a single day. In fact, that had been her assumption about Marion—that she had consumed the last ice cream bar in the freezer the same day as the last cupcake in cabinet when, in actuality, each dessert was consumed on separate, even if back-to-back, days. If Renee had cared to ask instead of presume. If she cared to get her information straight. But Renee never cared to do such things. That was not “Renee’s thing.” Her “thing,” instead, was to be as judgmental as possible while expecting that no one should ever cast such judgment upon her in return. Such was the inherent nature of The Hypocrite. Which, Marion could admit, everyone was guilty of being fairly consistently. However, when it came to food, Marion could safely say that she did not ever shame people for how much (or how little) they wanted to eat.
Her conscientiousness about the matter first arose when she was five years old. It was her grandmother, Gertrude, who spotlighted the concept of being potentially food shamed to her. For Gertrude had a tendency to adhere to the proverbial adage of “one’s eyes being bigger than one’s stomach.” Granted, Gertrude had a very big stomach. But even she couldn’t always contend with the depth of her theoretical appetite. That’s how the image of Gertrude yakking up a piece of cake at the table one evening at a family event celebrating Marion’s fifth birthday became so seared in her mind. But more than that, it was how no one tried to make Gertrude feel bad about her attention-grabbing display (at least, not that Marion ever witnessed). One that never would have happened had she shown some level of discretion when it came to her decidedly American eating habits. For only in America was such gluttony not only facilitated, but practically encouraged. Marion, after all, couldn’t think of anywhere else in the world that offered eating contests as a form of sport. And Gertrude was certainly of a generation where excess was the norm, having lived through the post-war economic boom of the 1950s, she was quick to dispense with all notions of “Depression-era rationing.” So it was that she took an immediate shine to the “more is more” philosophy of the Eisenhower years. In her twenties at the time, she raised her three children on a hearty red meat and whole milk diet (supposedly, Marilyn Monroe was fond of such a “diet” as well). In her opinion, it was the only reason they turned out halfway decent. In their opinion, they barely survived that household. And food had nothing to do with it.
Marion never saw the side of Gertrude that her mother or aunts did. Maybe that side only really revealed itself when she was eating. She was selfish, merciless and no holds barred when it came to securing what she perceived as her “share” from the table. In truth, maybe it was a direct result of growing up during the Great Depression that made her veer in this totally opposite direction of profligacy. A direction that Marion, surprisingly, never saw anyone shame Gertrude for. Not even when it poured out in the form of barf. So yes, not shaming anybody for how much they chose to eat was ingrained within Marion’s worldview from an early age. Though, looking back, she was certain that Gertrude’s daughters took her to task for her behavior when Marion wasn’t around to hear it.
The more she pondered it, the more she realized she had been spared by the adults from the more common outlook of making a person feel disgusting and wrong for their “voracity.” Ergo, Gertrude had likely been shamed beyond all measure for the vomiting incident. Nonetheless, she continued to eat with much the same gusto after that debacle. Yet Marion noticed that she tended to eat only when they were on a solo outing together, as though she knew that her granddaughter would not give her grief for her gustatorial exploits. Whether it was a massively-sized Blizzard from Dairy Queen or a Supersize meal from McDonald’s, Gertrude was unabashed when it came to ordering in front of Marion. And she didn’t much mind it really, save for when Gertrude started to dip into Marion’s portion. Come to think of it, maybe Marion turned so sensitive about portion control as a direct result of constantly bearing witness to Gertrude’s lack thereof. Which brought her back into the present situation of being triggered by her roommate, with whom she had been living with for the past five months. And while it all started out “perfectly lovely” enough, the honeymoon period was increasingly over as Renee had pulled back all the layers to reveal the full extent of her cunty capabilities. This included a predilection for overly monitoring all of the comings and goings of the kitchen. It didn’t matter if the food belonged to other people—Renee still needed to track the movements of the other three residents’ grocery items.
Hence, Marion’s current state of shock over Renee—someone who would freely stand in the kitchen in her underwear while eating from a carton of ice cream over the sink and then blow through an entire frozen pizza—somehow having the gall to monitor her. To actually say out loud, “Hey… so I noticed that both the cupcakes and the ice cream bars are gone already—did you really eat the last of them in one day?” As if Renee weren’t capable of doing the same thing. She was merely disappointed she hadn’t beaten Marion to the punch. A punch Marion didn’t even actually execute, for, as she mentioned to Renee by way of “defense,” she had consumed each dessert item over the course of a forty-eight-hour period, not a twenty-four one. Oh Christ, why was she even trying to justify it? What should it matter if she had consumed both of the desserts in one successive gobble? It was no one’s fucking business, least of all Renee’s. Worse still, Renee wasn’t even a stoner, so there was no justification for her arbitrary and very noticeable food benders. Binges that she would never allow anybody else in the household to indulge in without shaming them for it.
The day finally came when Marion could take the hypocrisy no more. She decided it was time to do something about it. To show Renee what a binge really looked like. Thus, while Renee was at work for a four-hour shift, Marion proceeded to remove all the contents from the cabinets and the refrigerator. She dumped every last package out onto the living room floor, which was basically part of the kitchen’s. And then, she slowly but steadily proceeded to feed on the dry and perishable goods until the moment Renee returned.
When she opened the door to the apartment, she froze in her tracks, dropping her keys in a combination of horror and shock. Her eyes truly could not process what she was seeing. It was the stuff that nightmares are made of. The expression on Renee’s face galvanized Marion all the more as she sunk her teeth into any and every item she could stuff her gob with. She didn’t care what it was; discernment was not the goal. Total mental annihilation was. Renee only stared at Marion for a few more moments before silently retreating into her room. After that “interlude,” Renee never mentioned anything about the kitchen’s “inventory” again.